Tales of Cadmium, Athena, and Saffron: The Fight - Part Six
Athena felt unusually exuberant as she sat underneath the Yellow Eesa tree that only the previous day had soaked up her tears. The Faerie Peophin took a bite of her doughnut - she, Saffron, and a sneezing Misty had stopped off at the bakery to buy breakfast - and felt excitement rise in her chest as she thought of her coming vengeance on Cadmium. She poked a dozing Saffron. "Hey! Why're you so tired? Isn't this a great day? I feel so-" she took a deep breath "-alive." Of course, it probably helps that Misty's and my little plan worked, she thought. The Faerie Peophin swapped a grin with an equally enthusiastic Misty.
"I feel the exact same way," Misty replied. "I don't know why Saffron doesn't. After all, not every day is this-" she paused for a moment, fishing around for the right word "-satisfyingly great." The Maraquan Uni nodded and took a huge bite of her jam-filled pastry. "Hey, Saffron, come join in our joy or I'm going to eat your muffin."
Saffron sat up and blinked rapidly, trying to wake herself up. "Huh? Wha? Oh. Hi. Yeah, it's a great day." Saffron delicately bit at the top of her chocolate muffin and thought, Phase one, done! The Yellow Xweetok could tell from the buzz around campus that her and Brett's little escapade had paid off. She turned her black-tipped ears to catch strains of conversations filled with exclamations of "Did you hear what happened to Elyse?" and "Two Boochis!" and "Boochi, near here?!" All of that made her extreme exhaustion worth it. She couldn't wait to tell Brett that their plan had been a success.
The Yellow Xweetok was about to close her eyes and catch a few more minutes' worth of sleep before the bell rang when a flash of silver caught her eye. She forced herself to open her eyes and give the Silver Shoyru, who had landed in the tree branch above her head, a smile.
"Hey Saffron - oh, and Athena and Misty," Brett added, sticking his tongue out at his sister. He hopped down from the branch and landed next to Misty. "Hey, have you noticed all the chatter about Boochi around the school this morning?" He shot Saffron a quick grin, which she returned. Misty gave her brother a confused look, but Brett just stared back at her with innocent eyes.
Athena pricked her lavender ears. She gasped in pleasure; her day just kept on getting better. "And none of them are talking about me!" The Faerie Peophin smiled in relief but then felt a slight pang as she recalled what she and Misty had already done to get revenge on Cadmium. Then she reminded herself that Cadmium hadn't said a word to her that morning, that the Royal Aisha now stood presumably gossiping with her "friends," that she hadn't apologized, and - the Faerie Peophin sat back in shock - was Cadmium talking with Edgardo? Sure enough, the handsome, athletic Shadow Lupe was deep in conversation with the Royal Aisha. Athena felt hot jealousy bubble up again as she decided Cadmium deserved every bit of what was coming to her.
"Well, I guess I'll see you later." Edgardo flashed Cadmium a smile and walked down the hallway to his locker. The Royal Aisha followed him with sparkling eyes, watched him give high fives and grins to other pets, and murmured, "Okay" to no one in particular.
As she fiddled with her locker, Cadmium was only half-aware of Elyse coming toward her. She was too happy about her growing friendship with the Shadow Lupe to really care if Elyse was going to chide her for talking with him. The Royal Aisha heard the White Kyrii open her mouth and take a breath to speak, but just then Cadmium got her locker open.
She gasped and her eyes widened as she took in the sight before her. Inside her locker, from top to bottom, toilet paper was stuck to her books, to her mirror, to her recently acquired picture of Neopia Central Junior High's star wingoball player, and to her backpack. Stunned, she tried to pull some of it off but couldn't. Only one thing could make toilet paper stick so readily to so many different surfaces - Elspeth's homemade glue. They still had a stash of it leftover from that terrible, horrible day after Christmas Y4. Cadmium couldn't help herself; she opened her mouth and let out a scream.
Saffron and Brett were only two of many pets that turned from their lockers to see which one of their schoolmates had screamed. Saffron traced the sound over to where Elyse, Jessica, Yvette, and Tansy were now gathered. Her heart sank as she realized they were all standing in front of Cadmium's locker. She grabbed on to Brett's wing and yanked him through the gathering crowd. Her eyes met with quite a sight: a glowering Cadmium, four chattering pets whose sentences were laced with "Ohemgee! That is, like, so totally uncool!" and Athena and Misty, arms crossed, standing a little way off around a corner. The Yellow Xweetok detected very smug looks on the two pets' faces.
Brett put two and two together before she did. He shoved his face in his hands and groaned. "Are we up for phase two?" he asked, his voice muffled.
Saffron squared her shoulders, slung her arm around his shoulder, and replied, "I guess we have to be."
Exactly five minutes later, Cadmium sat outside the principal's office. The Royal Aisha felt such rage that there seemed to be a red haze around her eyes. She blinked rapidly, but when she opened her eyes the haze was still there.
Elyse placed a soothing paw on Cadmium's arm. "Chill, Cadmium. It'll, like, totally be fine. Just tell Miss Thoyru that you know Athena did it." The White Kyrii gave Cadmium a stunning smile, nodded at the principal, and walked over to where Jessica, Yvette, and Tansy were waiting.
"Athena did what?" Miss Thoyru, the pretty, young Shoyru principal, questioned while motioning Cadmium to the office and shutting the door behind them. Curious faces peered in the small window above the door, but Miss Thoyru flew up and shooed them away. An expectant look in her shining black eyes, the Striped Shoyru sat down in her Royal Throne chair and motioned for Cadmium to continue.
"Athena put the glue and toilet paper in my locker! I know it!" the Royal Aisha declared. She was so angry that she didn't care what happened to her traitor sister. How dare she do that to me! Cadmium thought, furious. That was, like, totally the most disgusting, uncool thing ever!
Shock appeared on Miss Thoyru's face. "How do you know that? How can you even say that? Athena's your sister and best friend; she would never do something like that to you. And she's one of our best students." The principal couldn't keep the pride from her voice while she talked about the Faerie Peophin's brilliance in all of her classes. Except gym, but hey, Miss Amelia Rose Thoyru hadn't exactly been the most athletic pet when she was in school, either. The Striped Shoyru shook herself out of her reverie and continued. "Do you have any proof?"
Cadmium shook her head. "Well, no, but-"
"Then how do you know she did it?" Miss Thoyru inquired. Hurry up, the principal thought, somewhat guiltily. I'm supposed to have lunch with Orlando and Sheila. The principal suppressed a grin as she thought of her upcoming lunch with her two best friends and colleagues, Mr. Orlando Floomaroo the art teacher and Miss Sheila Flixi the chorus director.
"Well, see, we kinda had this argument, and we haven't been speaking... and... and... she is SO not my friend anymore," Cadmium finished, a look of defiance in her green eyes.
"Ah, I see." Miss Thoyru nodded knowingly. Middle school friendships... eesh, she thought. "Well, that still doesn't prove that Athena put the-" the Striped Shoyru paused to keep herself from snickering "-toilet paper and glue into your locker. What we need to do is find out how many students other than yourself have your locker combination."
"Um, actually," Cadmium began sheepishly. She twirled a lock of curly red hair around her antenna and nervously tugged on it.
"What?" the principal asked, a trace of suspicion in her voice. Impatiently, she tapped a finger on her desk.
"Um, see, heh..." Cadmium trailed off and gave an angelic smile. "My locker, erm, lock is broken. Anyone could have gotten in," the Royal Aisha admitted.
"Ah, I see." Miss Thoyru sighed and rummaged in her desk for a new lock. She tossed out several other things, including something that looked suspiciously like a ticket to the Altador Cup, and gave a triumphant "Aha!" and held up a new lock. The Striped Shoyru passed it to Cadmium and dismissed her.
"You mean that's it? You're not going to punish Athena?" Cadmium asked in disbelief.
"Cadmium, we have no proof that Athena vandalized your locker. Knowing her, if she did indeed do it, although I can't imagine she would, she will confess. You two just need to work out your little argument."
"Yeah, okay, Miss Thoyru," Cadmium replied compliantly.
"Good," Miss Thoyru said. The principal hastily shut the door and waved at Cadmium through the window, then grabbed her makeup bag and proceeded to redo her makeup into something more suitable for lunch. Then she caught a glimpse of the clock and realized there were another two hours to go before lunch. "Oh, rats," Miss Thoyru muttered to herself. "Two more hours." She grinned to herself, thinking of the fun she and her friends were going to have in the recently refurbished teachers' lounge, complete with a game table and vending machine. Then the Striped Shoyru realized what she was doing and banged her head several times against her desk. Glancing this way and that, she was relieved to find that no one was in the hallway and thus no one had seen her temporary, giddy insanity.
Having given the principal a wave (one that Elyse had taught her, a sort of condescending "whatever" wave), Cadmium headed off to class. The Royal Aisha thought, Like I'm going to apologize after that. Oh, most definitely not. This calls for another little rumor... And Cadmium traipsed off to tell the whole school - through Elyse, of course - that Athena still slept with her Faerie Peophin plushie.
At lunchtime, Brett and Saffron sat in their Journalism class, completely defeated and exhausted from the previous night's events. The two pets barely even noticed as their Journalism teacher, Mr. O'Meerca, handed out assignments. They listlessly ate their cafeteria food and waited for their projects.
“You... do the sports page.” The Brown Meerca handed the paper to a joyous Mystery Island Acara, then looked over his half-glasses at her. “And no, we do not need another interview with Edgardo.” Saffron and Brett couldn't even muster a laugh when the Acara stuck her tongue out at Mr. O'Meerca's turned back.
“You... do the lunch menu.” Mr. O'Meerca addressed a Blue Moehog, who couldn't disguise the disgust in his eyes. “Hey, you turn in an article late, and that's what you get. Tough luck, kid,” the Meerca said in his Meridellian accent.
Several minutes later, Mr. O'Meerca had handed out all the basic article assignments and Saffron and Brett had finished their lunches, but the teacher hadn't gotten to Saffron yet (Brett had been assigned to write about the upcoming graduation banquet). The teacher approached her desk, cleared his throat for attention, and said, “Miss Saffron... our star reporter."
Saffron couldn't help but mentally roll her eyes. In her daydream, she was so tired that her eyeballs fell out of her head and rolled onto the floor. As Mr. O'Meerca went on and on about how wonderful she was, what instincts she had, and how interesting all of her stories were, Saffron went deeper into her daydream. She took a sip of milk and watched the scene play out in her head. "Come back here, eyeballs!" Saffron yelled in her dream. But she kept bumping into things since (obviously) she couldn't see. She had just grabbed something squishy and round and was about to pop it back into place, whatever it was, when -
“I want you to write about Elyse's Boochi encounter,” Mr. O'Meerca declared, finally at the end of his speech.
Violently shaken out of her semiconsciousness, Saffron sat straight up at her desk, coughed, and shot milk out of her nose. The entire class – save a worried Silver Shoyru – burst out laughing. “You want me to WHAT?!” the Yellow Xweetok sputtered.
“Do you have a problem with doing the article, Miss Saffron?” Mr. O'Meerca asked incredulously.
“N-no, sir. I'll do it, sir. Right away, sir,” Saffron hastily replied, thoughts racing. How am I going to do this without giving Brett and me away? Saffron thought helplessly.
The Brown Meerca nodded, satisfied. “I knew I could count on you.” He patted the panicked Xweetok on the shoulder – something she absolutely hated – and plopped himself down in his oversized desk chair to work on an article of his own.
Saffron and Brett swapped anxious glances. His brow furrowed, Brett shoved his face in his hands and tried to think up a way for Saffron to write the article. Suddenly - genius! The Silver Shoyru mouthed, "Ask Cadmium to get it for you."
The Yellow Xweetok nodded in guilty agreement; it was the only thing she could do, even if it meant slightly bending the class rules, to get the article without giving away that Brett had been the imposter Boochi.
Athena's last class of the day was art, which, she decided, was the perfect way to end an extremely satisfying day. Art was her favorite class, and it only helped that Mr. Flumaroo, a dashing young artist, was the teacher. He was of the mindset that, to quote the Green Blumaroo, "Zee students should hef zeh freedom to express zehmselves both ahrtistically and verbally," meaning that all the students in his art class were allowed to draw, paint, or sculpt whatever they wanted while talking with their friends. And so Athena stood at her easel, chatting with Misty and working on a painting that looked strangely like Cadmium covered in green snot.
"Did you hear what they're saying about me now?" Athena questioned, a trace of amusement in her voice. "Apparently it's a crime that I still sleep with my Faerie Peophin plushie." She stabbed at her painting and added another glob of green paint to Cadmium's left antenna.
Misty snorted and added a dab of clay to her sculpture of her petpet, a Faerie Peo named Spark. "Yeah. Big news. I happen to know that Elyse sleeps with a Prom Date Girl Usuki. Brett told me. How he knows that, I have no idea."
"Weird. But you know what? I don't even care that there's another rumor about me." Athena gave her friend a devious smile and continued. "It just means we get to plan more... revenge." Something caught the Faerie Peophin's eye, and she changed the subject. "Hey, look at that." The Faerie Peophin poked the Maraquan Uni with her paint brush.
Two pairs of eyes followed Jessica the Starry Usul as the pet sauntered up to Mr. Flumaroo's desk from the table where a giggling Yvette sat. "This is going to be interesting," Athena said, making sure only Misty heard her - which wasn't hard, as there were twenty-one other pets in the class and all of them were talking in groups of two or three.
Upon hearing someone approach his desk, Mr. Flumaroo looked up from his book. "Yez?" he asked, a slightly intrigued look in his sparkling green eyes. Nobody has cum to mah desk ahll wehk. Zis could beh interestahng, he thought.
Slightly nervous, the Starry Usul wrung her paws, grimaced, and asked, "Do we have any glue, Orlando?" She tried to smile at the teacher, who sat back in his chair, trying hard to look stern instead of bursting out into laughter. He managed to keep his expression completely neutral and even mustered a glare. But in his head, he said to himself, Zis has happahned every yeahr. Zis is getting ohld. Orlando closed his eyes and rolled them as far back in their sockets as they would go.
By now the whole class had stopped chattering and now waited to see what the Starry Usul would say next. Jessica hesitated, desperation showing in her blue eyes. She tried again. "Orly? Lando? Ordo? Mr. Floomy-woomykins?" All the other pets, save Mr. Orlando Flumaroo himself, burst out laughing. Jessica felt a flash of anger, but she squashed it so that Mr. Flumaroo wouldn't notice. She sighed in defeat and, with her nose wrinkled, mouth turned down, and a generally disgusted look on her face, said, "Mr. Flumaroo," in a voice tinged with contempt.
Maintaining his composure, Mr. Flumaroo rummaged in his desk drawer and came up with a bottle of glue. He handed it to the flushed Usul and remarked, "You 'ahd better beh glahd that I ahm in a good mood. Cahlling a teacher bah his or hehr fihrst name can get you a detention, Madamoiselle Jessica."
Giving a dark scowl that immediately quieted the tittering class, the Starry Usul turned on her heel, fluffed her tail in annoyance, and went back to her painting - which just happened to be right next to Misty's sculpting table.
The Maraquan Uni strained her blue ears to hear what Jessica was murmuring to herself. "Stupid dare. 'Call the art teacher by his first name and see if he'll give you something.'" Jessica paused. "But he called me 'mademoiselle!'" the Starry Usul quietly squealed. Apparently Athena had heard it too, because it was all the Faerie Peophin could do to keep from bursting into gales of laughter. Tears streamed down both of the pets' faces as they tried desperately not to even giggle. Taking deep breaths, they managed to calm themselves - and then moved on to planning the next step of revenge.
To be continued...